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German consumer group pursues legal action against Valve over Steam EULA

Thursday, 31st January 2013 12:09 GMT By Dave Cook

Valve may find itself facing a legal battle one day soon, as consumer protection group the Federation of German Consumer Association (VZBV) has officially lodged a complaint against the company with the district court in Berlin.

The issue stems from changes to Valve’s Steam end-user licence agreement last year, that blocked the use of any third-party software allowing the resale of games downloaded via the service. Although Valve is due to open up the rules a little in its next EULA update, the VZBC isn’t satisfied with Valve’s progress so far.

Their concern is that gamers will not be able to re-sell any digitally downloaded products – in the same way they might have done at a bricks and mortar game store – and that this impedes on their consumer rights. The group is also concerned that – if and when physical game stores vanish – this may set a precedent for future digital distribution store-fronts that can essentially hold consumers to ransom for whatever price they wish.

As a result, Cinema Blend reports that the VZBV now says that Valve isn’t doing enough to address concerns, and is prepared to take its claim to the Supreme Court if necessary. The group issued a full statement on the matter here.

We’ll keep an eye on this one as it develops. What’s your take on the issue? Should we be able to re-sell digital wares as we do on the high street? Let us know below.

Thanks PCGamesN.

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10 Comments

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  1. ps3fanboy

    this is a step in the right direction… next should be that customers can backup their bought digital content on hd or disc. so if the digital content will not be available anymore, they can still use it or sell it.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. silkvg247

    Shouldn’t this be applicable to every single games publisher that’s required online CD key activation for their game, meaning it’s not re-sellable? That move pretty much destroyed the PC preowned market overnight (and, somewhat ironically, helped cause the piracy boom).

    I’m confused as to why they’d target steam. Pretty much any PC game bought from anywhere will have a one off activation nowadays.

    I’m not saying it’s right, in fact I hope it’s something that changes soon – for example why can only my gf play the copy of Farcry 3 I bought on her steam account? What if I want to play it on my account downstairs? I have to log on her account instead, which is supposedly against the rules but seriously, I’m not going to buy two Farcry 3′s for the same house am I?! I’d sooner pirate copy #2 out of principle. It’s like saying I’d have to buy two Blu Rays for us both to watch a film. Bloody stupid, don’t know how it ever got like this. Oh wait yes I do, greedy publishers not realizing they’d lose far more than they gained by locking it all down in the first place.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. shogoz

    Well said guys. This is why I’ve never had/never will have a Steam account. I’ve sold and made over 300 AUD for my old N64 games (conker’s bad fur day went for 125) so I hope to fuck they NEVER only make digital copies of games. if they ever do without a workaround I’ll just stop playing games altogether.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    I think regarding this situation the main problem / issue here is that they can change the way they see fit or the way they want when they want it the EULA without the control of anybody, that is the most worrying thing that will make a precedent, they should be a sort of body or institution or legal sytem that protects the consumer from this, especially for services that the user doesnt hold the access to the data or games in this case, thats why they go directly to valve in this case, but again this gen we have pleny of cases like this like the other os on the ps3, so i think is a good time starting to think and act about this, not wait for the death of brick and mortar.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Sasha_Je

    Hopefully something will be done because this business practice is abysmal for consumers. It’s not about the ability of selling a game/movie/song it’s about the choice of doing that. You are not the owner of the content because that is property of the publisher but once you buy something you are allowed to do what you want with it. At the moment the practice is same as rental but you pay full price. It’s like Mercedes won’t let you sell/rent the car that you have bought…

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Samoan Spider

    I hate some of the things they put in EULA’s but I don’t tend to get too bogged down in worrying about it. I accept that I buy digitally and I cant chop them in. But I buy cheap and I’m fine with that limitation.
    Its a shame they aren’t targeting the other digital distribution methods which restrict these same things. Amazon has digital downloads, Origin and plenty of other websites but they single out Valve? So I have to say, that precisely nothing will change as a result of this.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. alterecho

    Well i haven’t logged into Steam since the last time they changed the EULA and have been buying thee physical versions of the game i had on Steam.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DSB

    I was hoping it was gonna be about their return policy. As far as I know, in Europe you have a right to cancel a purchase within 30 days for whatever reason you like.

    They don’t have a case in this though, the thing that probably escapes most people is that Steam is a service with a store, instead of an actual store. You’re not buying the game, per se, you’re buying the use of it through the service.

    Then again, it is Germany, and everything can happen :P

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Cobra951

    @2: “Bloody stupid, don’t know how it ever got like this. Oh wait yes I do . . .”

    Of course you do. They do it because they can, because no one stops them. If you could walk into a store, open the cash register, and walk out with the cash, as everyone smiles and some people even cheer for you, why wouldn’t you do it every day?

    It takes countries who look out for their people rather than only their commercial enterprises to curb the systematic elimination of freedoms the game-buying public has been suffering. I don’t live in such a country. I hope you do.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. CyberMarco

    I buy digital games and content only on Steam and I try to avoid PSN, because if one day PSN stops to exist, it would be real tough to get access to my purchased games. In the other hand with Steam, if something goes wrong I can always grab a copy of my purchased games through a torrent or something like that.

    #10 1 year ago